I attended part of yesterday’s tea party at the Gold Dome, and a couple of things were apparent: The crowd was significantly smaller than last year’s massive rally (suggesting in part that Sean Hannity > Neil Cavuto as a crowd attraction), but its members remain passionate if the conversations I had are any indication. I also think it would be a mistake to view the smaller size as an indication of a waning movement, if only because I find it hard to believe that people who were upset last year about the stimulus and bailouts would be pleased with the direction Washington’s taken since then.
A lot of what was said by the speakers and written on the signs was, a year after the first big rallies, pretty much predictable. That’s not to say it’s stale or somehow bad; it’s just that the message and the motivation haven’t really changed. As for the buzz that there would be infiltrators trying to make the tea partiers look bad, there seemed to be none of that in Atlanta. I saw only a couple of counterprotesters holding pretty lame signs (”I’d rather be watching ‘Glee,’ ” one of them said, and no one was stopping her from doing just that). At other tea parties, the participants dealt with the faux tea partiers in their midst calmly and prudently.
With that, I’ll finish with a cartoon from Reason.com that smartly sums up why so many Americans are unhappy with the way the country has been run.